Palm Springs Air Museum 1            April 2011

In the first week of April, I took a trip with my father-in-law, Jerry, to the Palm Springs Air Museum. Now you would think living only a few miles away from this museum that I'd know the place pretty good, but the fact is neither one of us had ever been there before. With that being said, I didn't know what to expect once we arrived (which wasn't really that impressive from the outside) but once we paid our admission, things changed pretty quickly.

To give you a little information about the museum, it consists mostly of World War 2 era history, memorabilia and aircraft but we didn't know that before we went inside because there were some modern jets to be seen as you entered the parking area. That was fine with us because we both like prop driven airplanes anyways.

Now you would think that working in an aerospace manufacturing plant and building parts for the Apache helicopter along with many other modern aircraft that I would favor the newer models but that's just not the case. Don't get me wrong here because I do like the new style fighters like the FA-18's and many others but there's something about older aircraft that really do it for me and the first on that list would be the P-51 Mustang.

The museum is what's called a 'working museum' which means all of the aircraft can fly and does so often which makes this place that much better. While you're looking at all the pictures, notice the drip pans that catch engine oil under all the airplanes which should give you a better idea that they really do run. Once inside the place it's divided into two areas (large hangers) which is easy to walk around and see everything. And if you want too, you're welcome to go outside and see what they might be working on or what might be just sitting there.

As you round the first corner you're greeted with a large open area in the center which is reserved for different events like training and classes which they do on Saturdays. The walls are lined with all kinds of display cases which range from old guns to scale models of ships, submarines and airplanes. High up on all the walls are also very large paintings and tons of history about WW II which really is stunning. The remainder of the room is packed with aircraft of all shapes and sizes which was really a great experience to say the least.

What really makes all this come together for you are the volunteers around the place which are very knowledgeable about our history. What makes them so in the know you ask? Because these volunteers that you learn the history from, are those who actually made it. That's right, these guys were in the military and fought for our country which makes them true heroes in my eyes. To top it all off they will answer just about any question you might have and tell you a few personal stories along the way which pegged the cool factor meter for us.

I took a bunch of pictures to help tell the story of some of the best aircraft to ever fly back then so sit back and enjoy the show of over 140 large pictures. Oh, one more thing, if you see a picture of sign about each plane and can't read it, just click on the picture for a high resolution image of it which should be more than enough to learn about it.

 
NOTE: On the last page of this update is a story about a man named Mancel King, which is a World War 2 hero that flew a B-24. Mancel shares some of his true life experiences of what it was like while he was in the war. Be sure to check this out because it's a great read.


Palm Springs Air Museum

 

This is the first thing you see when you come through the door (which is where the exit sign is) and it sure had a lot of history behind it. It's a dive bomber aircraft and was used in WW II to take out enemy ships but according to the guy that we talked to it was much harder than it looked.
 

 

 

He said as you were starting your gun run and then pulled the nose of the aircraft around and had it pointed downward at about a 60 degree angle, the air speed was way to high so you would use these air-brakes to help slow it down enough to be able to hit something. Going from over 500 mph while in your steep dive to around 280 with the air-brakes, you had a higher percentage of hitting something but he said you rarely ever did. Reason being is because with the ships zig-zaging all over the place along with them shooting back at you, that made it pretty hard to hit your target.
 

 

 

This picture that was on the wall near the airplane should give you a better idea of what might have taken place while you were in your dive.
 

 

 

The plane carried ordinance under each wing and under the belly of the aircraft. He said they dropped all three bombs at once and not one at a time like Hollywood made you believe. By doing it this way, you didn't have to make a second and third pass which would give the enemy another chance to shoot you down.
 

 

 

The nine cylinder radial engine made over 1000 horsepower which gave it a max speed of over 250 mph in level flight and could fly over 24,000 feet high.
 

 

 

Here you can see Jerry (on the left) along with the volunteer that we were talking with. Believe it our not he's 95 years old and flew this type plane during the second World War. Jerry was in the Korean War back in the early 50's and before long the two of them were exchanging a few stories. It was wonderful listening to the both of them talk to each other about their true life experiences while serving our country and was awe inspiring to say the least.
 

 

 

Click on the image to see a high resolution picture.
 

Click for a larger picture

 

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